By: Rick Vargason | Towanda Daily Review | September 25, 2010 | Photo courtesy Ed Boardman
TOWANDA - On a muggy night, drench-soaked quarterback Cody Miller stood among teammates Zach Place and Garrett Dinelli and delved out credit to his entire team the way a senior-signal caller should following a huge win over North Penn in a battle of unbeatens, 28-7.
"We have multi-threats, now they can't just key on one guy," Miller said.
Yet it was Miller that completed 14 of his 17 attempts to the tune of 170 yards and a score, while also evading Panther blitzing linebackers to rush for 123 yards. But the one play that stuck out Friday evening was late in the first quarter in a scoreless game. Miller set up deep in punt formation from midfield on a fourth-and-five where he escaped the pocket down the left sideline for a big 30 yard gain to the Panther 20-yard line.
"Coach Larcom just told me if it's open, take it," Miller said. Dinelli picked up 14 more yards driving inside the five, before pounding it over from two yards out for the game's initial score. The drive went 96 yards on 14 plays keyed by the fake punt. Mason Roof booted the extra point and the Towanda Black Knights led 7-0 at the 10:00 mark of the second quarter.
Early on it looked as though North Penn caught the game's first break recovering a Towanda fumble at the Knight 44. A Skye Stiner run on fourth-and-11 moved the ball inside the Towanda 10, but a goal line stand by the Towanda defense took over when a fourth down Jason DeHaven pass fell incomplete.
After the Knight touchdown d-lineman A.J. Lantz swarmed a muffed snap by DeHaven to set up Towanda at the Panther 34-yard line. Miller gained 12 to the North Penn 22-yard line, before Jordan Dawsey took an end around to the Panther nine-yard line. A play later Miller hit Roof on an inside screen where Roof wouldn't be denied 'fracturing' the North Penn tacklers at the one for the score. Roof's point after was true and the Knights led 14-0 with 8:38 left in the half.
On the ensuing North Penn drive DeHaven hit Marquis Delgado for a big 18 yard gain inside Knight territory. But the Towanda defense stiffened and caught a break when Ryan Dinger's punt went out of bounds at the 29-yard line. From there the Knight line took over chewing up the final six minutes off the clock when Dinelli crashed over the goal line from three yards out with 40 seconds left in the half. Dinelli finished with two scores and 44 yards rushing on 16 totes. Roof's kick was good and Towanda led 21-0 at the break.
"They're D-line was very big, very physical ... we just wanted to show what we could do," stated left guard Place.
Both teams exchanged punts through the third before the Knights started churning again, kicking off a drive from their 48-yard line with a little over three minutes left in the third. Nine plays later Miller called his own number from eight yards out before being stripped of the ball at the goal line where Panther safety Sam Bohnert recovered for the touchback in the end zone.
However, a short punt set up the Knights from 46 yards out when five plays later Roof drilled in the three yard scoring run. The kick was good and Towanda led 28-0 with 7:38 left. Roof finished with 51 yards rushing on 12 carries along with 29 receiving yards and another score.
The tale of the tape had been told and the rout was on. The Panther's Stiner scored off a beautiful toss from DeHaven for the game's final score, but the outcome had been decided. Max Colegrove booted the extra point and North Penn trailed 28-7 with just over six minutes left.
"I've got to do better," stated a deflated North Penn Coach Tom Dickinson. "Towanda's a good football team and you can't make mistakes against a good team like that. Tonight they were better than us."
Coach Dawsey spoke of his guys: "They made some mistakes and we capitalized ... We'll get there, but overall we played tough. The kids had a good practice (Wednesday) and they just don't wear down ... Cody is just one of our best QBs. He really makes smart decisions."
On the outside for Towanda Caleb Willey reeled in five catches for 74 yards. Casey Huff had 53 yards on four receptions while Zach Ripic tallied one catch for nine yards. Dawsey rushed for 25 yards on six carries, while Stiner was the leading rusher for North Penn garnering 71 yards on 16 carries. DeHaven was 6 of 16 for 104 yards with a touchdown and an interception.